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Why are women living longer than men?

Lilliana Kobayashi (2022-04-18)

Everywhere in the world women live longer than men - but this was not always the case. The available data from rich countries shows that women didn't live longer than men in the 19th century. What's the reason women have a longer life span than men? What is the reason is this difference growing as time passes? There isn't much evidence and we have only some solutions. We know there are behavioral, biological as well as environmental factors that play an integral role in women living longer than males, it isn't clear how much each one contributes.

We have learned that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. However this is not because of certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. What are the factors that are changing? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are other issues that are more intricate. For example, there is evidence that in rich countries the female advantage increased in part because infectious diseases used to affect women disproportionately a century ago, so advances in medicine that reduced the long-term health burden from infectious diseases, especially for اوضاع الجماع survivors, ended up raising women's longevity disproportionately.

Everywhere in the world women tend to live longer than men
The first chart below shows life expectancy at birth for men and women. We can see that all countries are over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in all countries can be expected to live for longer than her brother.

This graph shows that even though women enjoy an advantage across all countries, differences between countries are often significant. In Russia women have a longer life span than men, while in Bhutan the gap is just half a year.

The advantage for women in terms of life expectancy was lower in countries with higher incomes as compared to the present.
We will now examine the way that female advantages in longevity has changed over time. The next chart compares the life expectancy of males and females at birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two distinct features stand out.

First, there's an upward trend. and women in the US live a lot, much longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, there is a widening gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be quite small however it increased dramatically in the past century.

When you click on the option "Change country by country' in the chart, you are able to verify that these two points are applicable to the other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.